My Darling Dorothy: Jo Virden
Wars can tear families apart and create struggles, sadness and unhappiness for those left behind. The uncertain, the not knowing whether someone is alive or dead can create a stress and fear within those that hang on to the letters that come. Difficulties arise, the Great Depression sets in and the story takes us inside the hearts, desires and minds of Dorothy, Jack and Tommie in novel based on real life letters titled: My Darling Dorothy. From the start her parents controlled Dorothy, mainly her father who sets the tone for many of the scenes letting readers and Dorothy know what is expected from her. Carol her best friend and confidant takes her under her wing and brings her to a USO dance to meet young men. This is where our story begins when she meets Jack, dances with him to the Tennessee Waltz and thinks that he just might be the one for her. But, things change and he leaves her writing and letting her know that she needs to move on. Tommie comes into her life and then leaves as he goes into the army, writes to her but then hopes to survive the Bataan Death March but what the author shares is terrifying and sad as you learn what the Japanese did not only to Tommie but to some many others. Hoping to take her as his bride did the Dear John letter reach him and did that make him give up hope? Next Jack reenters her life and although she now works for Mr. Anderson a very strict and unyielding boss, she seems to enjoy her job and does not want to quit when and if she gets married. But, which one will she choose and will she ever find happiness with either one? Hardships in the army and even within her family after losing her mother and having to care for her father and brother. Living in Nebraska and wanting more for her life.
As the book opens and the letters are found the author takes us to a place where letters are found that her parents collected and within them she learns about Tommie, Jack her father and the lives that were changed by a war. Getting to know both Tommie and Jack profiles two different men with the same goal in mind that is to marry Dorothy. Tommie is young, naïve in many respects and just adores Dorothy and Jack AKA Smitty leaves her to go to Washington causing her to meet Tommie. Dorothy works for the Agricultural Adjustment administration and gets letters from both. Jack into women and whiskey caused her to find Tommie a farmer, get engaged but things do not turn out. Always on her guard and not sure of who or what she wants the story weaves back and forth between her feelings for both men and the visions of being with her while away. As Tommie remains missing in action she shifts her thoughts to Smitty and possibly finding happiness with him. The letters are written in their own words, the misspellings fit the times and the characters and the pictures of the stamps brings it all to life. The settings, the war and the action is vividly depicted and described and the anguish she feels when she does not receive letters from both Tommie and Jack adds to the suspense of the story making you wonder just where she will finally wind up and with who. Losing her father, taking care of Walter her brother it seems she spends most of her life caring for others. Illnesses, malaria, other diseases, losing the one man that was his Lieutenant and best friend, learning that war is horror and often wanting to go home and yet not making it. What is their final fate and when we bring it back to the prologue what is Dorothy’s and will they have one last dance? You can feel the sadness, the heartache, the frustration of not receiving a letter, or letters for a long time and the fear that one or both won’t return. The joy of wanting to move on and get a better job and the fact that she let Tommie down when deciding she wanted Jack in her life. But, Jack met Sarah and things started to spiral out of control for him and his life took on a different meaning while Dorothy was waiting at home. Married did not stop him from going to a dance but it did stop him from taking things further. When the final bullets were shot and the final papers signed what happens when he returns home? Will he be able to deal with real life? What about the airstream he always wanted? Will he return to being Jack? A story well told and three people who lived their lives around the atrocities of a war that tore so many apart. Dorothy and Jack: Can you hear the music playing? It’s your song: The Tennessee Waltz : just for you!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine
Author of My Darling Dorothy
Available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/29JplYy
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Jo Virden is the author of A Passion For Life: Ruth Marie Colville. Her first love is writing short stories. My Darling Dorothy, which started as a short story, evolved into Jo’s first novel. She is passionate about promoting childhood literacy and spends many hours volunteering in reading programs throughout the Denver Metro area. She lives in Arvada, Colorado with her husband, Bill, and she enjoys outdoor photography, long walks in the Rocky Mountains and spending time with her grandson, Cyrus.